Wednesday, November 25, 2015

an apology

i'm sorry.

in my post the other day, i did the exact thing i was accusing others of. i did not act or speak in love and i'm sorry. will you forgive me?

other than the public comments on instagram and facebook, i haven't had any other feedback. this apology comes from me continuing to pray and think about my words and heart always...and Him speaking to me in such kind and revealing ways.

i spoke harshly and without grace and love.

above all, i believe that is who Jesus is...who God is...GOD IS LOVE.

and i'm sorry that i used His perfect name as i spoke without love. i've gone before Him and His amazing grace covers even this. but i can't leave it there...i have to ask for your forgiveness also.

my human, imperfect opinion on the matter hasn't changed. but i do regret how i said it. and i'm so very sorry.

and i ache for the day when He will make all things ugly heart, the evil in our world, and the need for homes for refugees.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

just some bits of last week...

we've never taken levi to get his hair cut at a "real" place. pat's done a great job for 4+ years...but it was time. on a friends recommendation, i went to "cutt n up" and it was an experience! it was like a movie...that place is WAY more than just a barber shop! i went at 10 am on a tuesday...thinking it would be slow and just opening. ha! no way. it was hopping...and they were fixing the worlds problems, and each other's problems, too. i laughed the whole time. they were so kind and generous to my "white mama" self. and didn't make me feel like i'd been ruining my son's hair (which i'm sure i had been.) i bet i gave them something to talk about after i left ;-) i can't wait to go back.

oh, and we ALL LOVE levi's haircut!!!
 i can't believe i placed higher than "food" on levi's thankful list!
bailey wanted to play basketball this winter. it's going to be amazing.
last week was "american education week". did you know that? i don't know if the rest of the country celebrates it, but here in loudoun county, we celebrate it BIGTIME. and that celebration looks like making moms come into school for a *fun* activity AND lunch (bonus!) every day the week before thanksgiving (and then december! christmas break! snow days!)

for the love. i don't mean to complain, but, well, i am.

but i do it. i made it to every class (and NOT lunch. i have my limits. and that cafeteria is one of them.) and the kids LOVED that i came.

sometimes when you're 5, your mom knows you need a nap, even if you say you don't.
WE'RE SO HAPPY IT'S POMEGRANATE SEASON!!!! and we've got our de-seeding technique DOWN!
rebekah made the JV basketball team at her high school!!!! it's so exciting! she had her first scrimmage last week and we can't wait to watch her games!
joshua got all A's first quarter. and was honored at a ceremony (during american education week...)
this past saturday was First Fruits. it's an event that our church puts on every year. hundreds of people go out into the community and do jobs for people (raking, painting, mulching, whatever they need.) the jobs are then paid for. after 6 or so hours of working, we take the money and go to the grocery store and buy groceries and then deliver them to families that need some extra help. all in the same day. 8 am-10 pm. it's long and hard and fun and an amazing day.

pat and the older kids have done it together for a few years. i've always been at home with "the little kids".

but this year, we all served together!!!! i brought the younger 3 home about 3 pm. but next year, i think they can make it all day!
our team.
it was a great day. a sweet ending to a pretty crazy week!
i probably won't be back here til next week. we have a wonderful weekend ahead full of traditions. i pray you have a good thanksgiving. i'm thankful for YOU!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

i'd rather choose to love

i took this picture last saturday morning. the emotions i felt as i took it still feel so near. the news from the Paris terror the night before was still coming in. we headed out to soccer games and i was mostly just so very thankful for all the small, little, "everyday" things that i was blessed to have in my life that day. we are rich in so many, many ways. in this country, we have so much we don't even realize.

i'm not one to follow the news. i never watch it. i might check online for a few headlines if something big is going on. but i don't get sucked in. it feels so big and out of my control and i just mostly focus on the people God has put in front of my face and trust that God has everything else in His mighty hands.

but then i started hearing and seeing snippets about if we would let "the syrian refugees" in or it we wouldn't. governors were signing papers saying "they" weren't allowed in.

and it hit me wrong. so very wrong.

so i started listening. not to the news. but to my heart. and to my God. whenever i get a little confused about what i should do, i think about Jesus. He came to earth...fully God and fully man and He walked and talked and laughed and cried and showed us how to live. i think about what He would do.

maybe my opinion is void because i have yet to read a full article on the situation. but i think what i do know is enough.

there are people that need help. that need homes. that are fleeing for their lives. and they are fleeing pure evil. they have done nothing wrong, they are innocent, and are being terrorized and murdered for no reason.

it just seems so simple to me.

how can we NOT help them??

in the book of matthew, Jesus associates Himself with the poor and the stranger and the sick and the prisoner and He says, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the last of these my brothers, you did it to me."

i don't know much about the effects of accepting refugees into our country...financially or otherwise. i know one of the fears is that there could be terrorists hiding in their midst.

i'd rather choose to love and let in a little hate, than choose to hate and show no love at all. we aren't here to be safe and comfortable and smart. we are here to serve and love and be wise.

also. i'm pretty sure Jesus was a refugee here on this earth. i'm sure glad people chose to love Him!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

teaching them limits

i'm in a new season.
in parenting. in motherhood. in LIFE.

i'm realizing my limits. and i'm choosing to listen to them as i act.

actions speak louder than words, right? isn't that what they say.

i trust that my actions have taught my kids lots of lessons along the way. but right now, my actions are teaching them it's ok to have limits.

the night i took this picture, we were at joshua's soccer practice. they wanted me to play football with them. i told them i would for 5 minutes. but that i needed to sit after that and read so that we could finish our day well when we got home. i knew my limits.

so we played. we laughed our heads off. sawyer pouted because lincoln scored an amazing touchdown. i reminded him how no one likes to play with a sore loser. his smile came right back. then i read, and they played.

and you know what? they were totally fine. they weren't devastated that i had limits that evening. their lives weren't worse off. and, at the end of the day, i was glad that i had made that choice. i didn't regret it. it was intentional and good.

i spent a lot of my life having no limits. it's still my default. and i know when i'm operating there because my insides start to whir and i can't hear God's voice.

when i'm operating inside my limits, i don't let my life get so busy that i can't hear His whispers.  and the peace and joy i'm finding here are beautiful.

actually, maybe living "inside my limits" is the same thing as "inside His will?"

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

the beach in november

last week, my kids had 2 days off school. teacher workdays.
so we left sunday morning after church. drove 6.5 hours (it's *supposed* to take 8. we only stopped once. for 7 minutes.) to the beach and had an amazing few days together!

the time changed the night before we left. so i knew it would get dark EARLY. we arrived in town around 5:15 pm. we only had minutes until it was we drove STRAIGHT to the beach before we even drove to the house. we (ok. I :-)) HAD to see it! ahhh...

we stopped at the seafood place to get worms. then headed to the house. my parents are SO generous to let us use their house when we can.

we unloaded. got settled. ate dinner (i brought stuff for chicken tacos. always a hit.) and then started a puzzle. yes, i was exhausted from driving all day but this was about THEM, so i dug deep.
rebekah and joshua both brought guitars and they led us in a couple songs of worship. we also studied a chapter in 2 Timothy together.

the first couple months of this school year have been...hard. they've just been hard. lots of adjustment and challenges, and, to be honest, lots of un-wise choices on the part of our kids that we are trying to figure out how best to parent.

this weekend away with them had one goal - to with them. and them with each other. it was a sacrifice. it was time. and money. and we all missed out on *stuff* back at home. but it was SO needed and good and worth all we *lost* by doing it.
i brought all our food with us. but planned on a couple treats. one was frozen yogurt. instead of taking us all together to get frozen yogurt, i took each child one at a time throughout our days there. the little shop is about 1/2 mile from the house and a perfect walking distance.

levi was first...the night we got there... while we were together, i learned that he's going to be superman next halloween and that if he gets a dog, he's naming him something that starts with "S".
i also took lincoln that first night (my 2 africans don't sleep well...and we were in the car all i was trying to get them a little tired...) it rained on us. but it didn't dampen our smiles!
monday morning i got up and ran...and said good morning to the beach. it was decent out...and we were on borrowed time with some rain coming in...joshua and sawyer fished by the house...

we had smores pancakes. (pancakes with marshmallows and chocolate syrup. they loved it. i loved my egg ;-) i had some treats, for sure. but i'm picky about my treats...and i never have them first thing in the morning!)
 the kids played a little basketball while i did a little strength training.
 and we were walking onto the beach a little after 9 am!

there's no WAY i would have gotten in the water. but they did. it was 75 degrees out and sunny and my heart felt like it might burst. i definitely texted pat (who was sitting back in his office at his job :( ) and said, "I HAVE TO LIVE AT THE BEACH AT SOMETIME IN MY LIFE."

 we went for a LOONG walk. 

i sat and read a little bit. but i mostly talked to whatever kid was near me. or we walked and looked for shells.

 a little football game :-)

  can you see the sand flecks on his nose?
we stayed a good 3 hours and then their stomachs made us leave :-)
we ate lunch (just sandwiches...) and worked on the puzzle for a couple hours...
 sawyer and i went on our little frozen yogurt date. and it POURED on us!
the older 3 ran together in the rain.

the rain let up later in the we went back to the beach just to walk. (i think i ran/walked a LOT of miles that day!!)

 this is a rare sight...but precious to this mom!

 dinner that night - for them. ;-)
 bailey and i went on our date walk. and then we watched a movie at the house.
the next morning (tuesday) it was POURING when i woke up. so i didn't run. we had omelettes for breakfast. and enjoyed our time at the house...working on the puzzle...reading...watching the rain...

it let up to a sprinkle and we went on a LOONG walk. i told them to find the best puddle - they jumped and ran through them ALL!

we studied the same chapter in 2 Timothy each day. twice. THEY read it out loud to each other. we focused on different verses and ideas each time. with them, we often read a verse or 2, and then "teach them" what we think they should learn from it. i wanted to show them a different way (there are SO many GOOD ways to study the Bible!) and to let THEM discover and come up with what they were learning from the repetition. 
 after lunch (sandwiches again), joshua and i went out on walk date. that kid is so fun and easy. i made his day and his walk date also included a stop to buy new basketball shoes!
it rained ALL afternoon and evening. so rebekah and i drove to get frozen yogurt. i was SO sick of being rained on :/ and i got frozen yogurt for the first time all weekend (i couldn't get it 6 times!) that night we went out to dinner :-)
 the next morning we packed up and drove to say goodbye to the beach and headed home.
it was such a good few days together. it was wonderful to watch my kids reconnect with each other. and with themselves. and with me. i can't say we *needed* it, but it was a gift and a huge blessing to be able to do it. i took a video of that scene right there and can listen to that sound anytime i want :-)

the beach in november. i'm a HUGE fan!